Singaporean, 10 firms under US Myanmar sanctions

Singaporean, 10 firms

under US Myanmar sanctions

SINGAPORE (AFP) – A Singaporean citizen and 10 of her companies have been targeted under fresh US sanctions aimed at the Myanmar junta, adding to a list of city-state firms hit by US sanctions.

Cecilia Ng is the wife of Steven Law, whose father Lo Hsing Han is “known as the ‘Godfather of Heroin’,” according to the US Treasury Department.

The department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) named the three individuals on Monday under additional economic sanctions against supporters of Myanmar’s military regime, which the US accuses of grave human rights abuses.

The OFAC notice says Ng, born in 1958, is a Singaporean citizen who owns 10 companies including Golden Aaron Pte Ltd.

State media in Myanmar reported in December 2004 that Singapore’s Golden Aaron Pte Ltd was part of a consortium that signed an oil and natural gas exploration contract with military-ruled Myanmar.

OFAC listed Ng’s other companies as: G A Ardmore Pte Ltd, G A Capital Pte Ltd, G A Foodstuffs Pte Ltd, G A Land Pte Ltd, G A Resort Pte Ltd, G A Sentosa Pte Ltd, G A Treasure Pte Ltd, G A Whitehouse Pte Ltd, and S H Ng Trading Pte Ltd.

The Treasury Department accused Law and Lo Hsing Han of a history of involvement in illicit activities.

“Lo Hsing Han, known as the ‘Godfather of Heroin,’ has been one of the world’s key heroin traffickers dating back to the early 1970s,” it said.

“Steven Law joined his father’s drug empire in the 1990s and has since become one of the wealthiest individuals in Burma.”

Ng could not be immediately contacted for comment on the allegations.

A woman who opened the locked door at Ng’s offices in Singapore’s business district said she was not there. A plaque visible through the door listed Golden Aaron, S H Ng Trading and another firm, Kokang Singapore Pte Ltd.

Attempts to locate Ng at the condominium complex listed as her residence were also unsuccessful.

Singapore strongly denies allegations that it allows banks based here to keep illicit funds on behalf of Myanmar’s secretive generals.

Asked for comment, the foreign affairs ministry referred AFP to the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) which said the city-state, like all other leading financial centres, operates “a strict and rigorous regime” against money laundering.

“Banks and financial institutions in Singapore are required to institute strict procedures, including the need to identify and know their customers, and monitor and report any suspicious transactions,” MAS said.

“Our rules are vigorously enforced. Should there be links with illicit activity, MAS will not hesitate to take necessary action.”

In early February the US named Singaporean resident U Kyaw Thein, 60, as among those targeted under sanctions aimed at Tay Za, who the Treasury Department called an alleged “henchman” and arms dealer for Myanmar’s junta.

A Singaporean company, Pavo Aircraft Leasing Pte Ltd, was also named.

US President George W. Bush last year named three other firms with offices in Singapore as among those targeted under initial sanctions that followed the junta’s deadly September crackdown on protests led by Buddhist monks.

The city-state led regional criticism of the crackdown but rights activists accused it of not taking economic action against the regime.

The US action freezes any assets the individuals and firms have under US jurisdiction and bars Americans from conducting business with them at the risk of heavy fines and prison sentences.

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